OBAMA’S INFERIOR ENGLISH COMMON CORE STANDARDS
by Donna Garner
Forty five states plus D. C. have committed to Common Core Standards without these standards having been piloted and without any international benchmarks having been set. How does anyone know whether these Common Core Standards will raise students’ academic abilities at all? It is a gamble but a very expensive one for which the taxpayers will be left holding the bag.
Parents and taxpayers need to read what a Montana retired teacher, Barbara Rush, has to say about this overreach by the federal government right straight into the minds of our public school children – 8.29.12 [To read the column, just click on “Cancel” when the print screen pops up.] — http://helenair.com/news/opinion/common-core-our-new-national-curriculum/article_1e9ae170-f1a2-11e1-9665-001a4bcf887a.html?print=true&cid=print
Obama and his administration are behind the Common Core Standards/Race to the Top, and the purpose is to indoctrinate this and all future generations into the social justice agenda.
Academic excellence is not the goal of Common Core Standards.
COMMON CORE STANDARDS IN ENGLISH
The Obama administration’s Common Core Standards in English are very similar to the inferior English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) curriculum standards passed in Texas in 1997 – now referred to as the “old” Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
New and much-improved curriculum standards (TEKS) have been passed in Texas starting in May 2008 – ELAR, Science, Social Studies, and Math.
Please look further on down the page where I have shown a direct comparison (Grade 7) between Texas’ new, explicit, grade-level-specific, knowledge-based ELAR-TEKS and the generic, “thin” wording of the Common Core Standards (CCS) in grammar/usage.
One of the most basic problems with the Common Core Standards (CCS) is that the confusing format will be very difficult for teachers to figure out how to utilize them.
COMMON CORE STANDARDS ALLOW TEACHERS TO USE DISCREDITED WHOLE LANGUAGE READING PROGRAMS
Because the CCS reading elements are so generic, broadly worded, and do not contain grade-level specificity, teachers will be able to use discredited whole-language reading programs – such as Authentic Reading, Guided Reading, etc. It is these discredited whole-language reading programs that have continued to dumb down children’s reading, spelling, and writing skills.
CCS – NO CURSIVE WRITING INSTRUCTION
The CCS do not require teachers to teach cursive, and many teachers no longer teach children how to write cursive which also limits their ability to know how to read cursive. If children do not learn how to write cursive, they will not be able to read it either. Remember that the primary documents, personal journals, historical letters, and other valuable text upon which our nation was founded were written in cursive. The new Texas curriculum standards require teachers to start teaching cursive in Grade 3.
CCS – NO PREREADING STRATEGIES
CCS frowns on teachers doing ANY pre-reading strategies with their students. I agree that teachers should not spend hours in pre-reading and then not have time for students actually to read the story. However, the CCS supports “cold reading” where students are supposed to dive right into a book without doing ANY delving into the background of the author, the historical context of the plot, the setting, the way the characters will be developed, etc.
Good pre-reading instruction should make the students want to read the story yet not be so elaborate and far afield that they keep students from having the time to read. Good pre-reading will help students to set up a framework that guides them to read the text closely and then to analyze its structure. The CCS leads teachers to believe that they must do none of these pre-reading strategies, leaving a void in children’s minds as they try to connect the text with some sort of background knowledge.
CCS – NO COHERENT LITERATURE STRAND
The Common Core Standards lack a coherent literature strand. A coherent literature strand means each new book would reference back to previous historical eras. Without the CCS having this, students will not be culturally literate. If they read a certain book here and a certain book there but do not tie the two together into a historical progression, students will be deprived of a broad-based understanding of both literature and history. For instance, students must understand what energized the early writers in our country’s history before students will understand modern literature/history.
CCS – SHORTCHANGES CLASSICAL FICTION
Yet another negative aspect of CCS is that teachers are to split the fiction and nonfiction reading 50/50 in elementary school; but in high school, students are to read nonfiction 70% of the time and fiction 30%. In high school, the classic novels of the world take many hours to read and study; these great novels have connected generations together for centuries. Under CCS, high-school students will spend most of their day reading nonfiction or informational text; and the classics will get shortchanged. This is a terrible loss and will deprive students from reading valuable classical literature that increases their foundational knowledge.
For further comments about the lack of emphasis in the CCS on the great pieces of literature, please go to “An Expert’s View of Common Core’s Focus on Nonfiction Texts” by Jim Stergios, Executive Director of Pioneer Institute – published on 8.30.12 — http://boston.com/community/blogs/rock_the_schoolhouse/2012/08/an_experts_view_of_common_core.html
CCS – WRONG CATEGORIZATION FOR CREATIVE WRITING
Another really negative thing about the CCS is that it lumps all creative reading and writing into the “narrative” category, making students think that creative writing must always be a description of events that are sequential and personal. There are noteworthy narrative writing selections that do not follow that pattern.
CCS – LACK OF SEQUENTIAL PROGRESSION OF GRAMMAR
The Common Core Standards in grammar are a “wish list” – things that the writers of the CCS “wish” students would learn but without giving teachers any clearly delineated direction in teaching grammar. Because languages (including English grammar) and math are competency-based subjects, students must learn today’s lesson before they can be successful in applying it to tomorrow’s lesson; but the Common Core Standards lay down no definite progression of specific concepts to be taught and learned at each grade level.
In contrast, the Texas curriculum standards are a “road map” that directs teachers at each grade level to teach certain explicit grammar concepts so that students will arrive at the “destination.”
Because the grammar elements in the CCS are not scoped and sequenced with cognitive progression, students will not learn to tie each new grammatical concept together with the previous concepts well enough to apply them skillfully to their writing and speaking. Therefore, the CCS grammar will be taught in a hit and miss fashion with nothing really “sticking” in children’s minds for access when they need it to improve their writing and speaking.
COMPARISON OF COMMON CORE STANDARDS V. TEXAS’ STANDARDS
The following statements, taken from my recent articles, will explain, compare, and contrast the inferior Common Core Standards vs. the superior new ELAR standards (TEKS) adopted in Texas:
Type #1 Philosophy of Education: Please look at Texas’ new-and-improved curriculum standards (TEKS) in English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR) – K-12:
The new Texas ELAR’s in the early grade levels emphasize phonemic awareness/decoding skills (i.e., phonics) and literary as well as informational text. Instead of the personal essay, Texas’ public schools are now emphasizing expository/persuasive/research writing starting in the early grade levels clear through high school. Texas also has a well-developed strand K-12 on Oral and Written Conventions (e.g., grammar, usage, spelling, handwriting including cursive, capitalization, punctuation).
Now let’s compare Texas’ ELAR/TEKS to the Obama administration’s Common Core Standards:
First, notice that Texas’ ELAR/TEKS are explicit and grade-level-specific all the way from K through Grade 12. In high school, Texas has English I, English II, English III, and English IV; each grade level is distinct from the previous ones with the skills learned in the earlier grades forming the prerequisites for the higher grade levels.
To view a sample grade level, please go to the Texas ELAR’s for English IV:
Next, let’s compare the Texas ELAR’s for English IV to the Common Core Standards for English IV. Problem! Right off we notice that there is not a distinct set of curriculum standards for English I, English II, English III, and English IV.
The Common Core Standards are grouped in high school in clusters of (English 9 through 10) and (English 11 through 12). This means that high-school teachers and students in the capstone levels of English do not have explicit and clearly worded goals to meet at each grade level. The lack of explicitness and specificity in the CCS will create confusion and will also cost the taxpayers large amounts of money because of all the “consultants” who will have to be hired to “interpret” the CCS and work out the vertical and horizontal alignment for the classroom teachers.
Common Core Standards — English 9 and 10 — http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards/writing-6-12/grade-9-10/
Common Core Standards — English 11 and 12 — http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards/writing-6-12/grade-11-12/
DIRECT COMPARISON OF WORDING IN GRADE 7 – TEXAS’ ELAR’S TO CCS
Now let’s do a direct comparison of one strand to show the differences between English 7 (Texas’ ELAR’S) and English 7 (Common Core Standards):
TEXAS ELAR — ORAL AND WRITTEN CONVENTIONS – ENGLISH 7
(19) Oral and Written Conventions/Conventions. Students understand the function of and use the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to:
(A) identify, use, and understand the function of the following parts of speech in the context of reading, writing, and speaking:
(i) verbs (perfect and progressive tenses) and participles;
(ii) appositive phrases;
(iii) adverbial and adjectival phrases and clauses;
(iv) conjunctive adverbs (e.g., consequently, furthermore, indeed);
(v) prepositions and prepositional phrases and their influence on subject-verb agreement;
(vi) relative pronouns (e.g., whose, that, which);
(vii) subordinating conjunctions (e.g., because, since); and
(viii) transitions for sentence to sentence or paragraph to paragraph coherence;
(B) write complex sentences and differentiate between main versus subordinate clauses; and
(C) use a variety of complete sentences (e.g., simple, compound, complex) that include properly placed modifiers, correctly identified antecedents, parallel structures, and consistent tenses.
(20) Oral and Written Conventions/Handwriting, Capitalization, and Punctuation. Students write legibly and use appropriate capitalization and punctuation conventions in their compositions. Students are expected to:
(A) use conventions of capitalization; and
(B) recognize and use punctuation marks including:
(i) commas after introductory words, phrases, and clauses; and
(ii) semicolons, colons, and hyphens.
(21) Oral and Written Conventions/Spelling. Students spell correctly. Students are expected to spell correctly, including using various resources to determine and check correct spellings.
Commmon Core Standards — Conventions of Standard English – English 7
Conventions of Standard English
- L.7.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
- Explain the function of phrases and clauses in general and their function in specific sentences.
- Choose among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to signal differing relationships among ideas.
- Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers.*
- L.7.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (e.g., It was a fascinating, enjoyable moviebut not He wore an old[,] green shirt).
- Spell correctly.
Every parent and every taxpayer in every state that has committed to the Common Core Standards should listen to the following video entitled “Two Moms Against Common Core Standards.” Even though this video is specifically directed at Utah, the concerns voiced are the same concerns that people all across this country should be voicing.
ObamaCare is the federal takeover of our healthcare system, but the Common Core Standards Initiative is the federal takeover of something even more precious – our children!
“Two Moms Against Common Core Standards” – link to video:
The following article by Sherena Arrington offers even more information about the Common Core Standards:
3.19.12 — An Uncommon Approach to Costly Common Core Education Standards
8.12.12 – “Utah Teachers Speak out Against the Obama Administration’s Common Core Standards – Utahns Against Common Core” — http://libertylinked.com/posts/10039/utah-teachers-speak-out/View.aspx